February 09, 2017

Gold Clutch Purse ~ Accessory for January

My original plan was to have a red velvet "bow" bag for my Valentine's Day outfit. But when I was getting my fabric I realized that the dress fabric reads as orange. I should have guessed because  it is woven of red and gold threads. Since I wasn't interested in changing the fabric for the dress, I had to come up with a different idea for the bag.

I decided to go with gold for my accessories. My fabric shop didn't have anything in gold that inspired me so I had to look around. Amazingly enough I found some remnants gold leather at Tandy Leather and decided to give it a go. I've never sewn leather on my machine so I wasn't sure if it would work out. 

Getting started: gold leather from Tandy, brass jeans zipper,
and Schmetz leather needles for the sewing machine

I went with the simplest design I could think of, a basic zipper pouch, and hoped for the best. I absolutely did not expect for anything useful to come out of this first try so I used the least amount of leather possible. 

A great start on the body and strap of the gold leather clutch

I've watched videos on proper leather working and I'm really not up to all of that yet. I do have the glue, needles, and thread but skiving scares me. Skiving is when you shave away the edges to make the leather thinner. I definitely see the benefits of it now and will probably try it out this year.

Also, I don't have burnishing tools or leather edge paint. I'm not a fan of raw edges so I used the same technique that I use with fabric, sewing right sides together. I tried pressing the leather so it would lay flat with little improvement. I finally gave in and top stitched. 

To make the strap I took a strip of leather and stitch the sides down in the back. I've shown it in the picture above. 

Zipper close-up on the gold leather clutch

I had to give up the idea of a basic pouch because I couldn't get my corners to turn properly. That led to the addition of side panels and obliterated my ideas for adding the strap at the side seam. "D" rings and clasps seemed to be the best direction to go from here. With no luck finding the right size hardware online, I found what I thought would work at a local thrift store and scavenged the pieces I wanted. 

Even with all of the road blocks, twists and turns, I was very optimistic that my project would work out great. Each new change seemed to be for the better and I was actually thrilled with how it was going. 

That's when everything went south. Sewing in the sides and turning the leather destroyed the shiny finish and creased it terribly. Then I had to take out the leather tabs at the ends of the zipper and hand stitch it back to the pouch body. The machine stitches pulled and marked the leather and you can see the tied ends of thread. Not to mention that the zipper tape has frayed ends that show.

I'm rating this bag as a fail because it looks worn out and I just finished it. I'll probably use it for pictures but it won't be going out to dinner. Perhaps it can find happiness as a makeup pouch.

On the bright side, this project was a great learning experience and counts as an accomplishment in sewing leather on the sewing machine. It stitched so easily that I won't hesitate in trying it again. I already have plans for two future leather sewing projects. 

Finished bag on my red silk dress

I hope all of your sewing adventures are exciting.
Until next time,
Happy Stitching!!!

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